Dollar Coin vs. Dollar Bill

Posted on 2013-06-20 16:55 in Blog • Tagged with numismatics

Every few weeks I run across someone stating we should eliminate the dollar bill and transition over to the dollar coin. The stated claim is it will save the government (and tax payer) money. The counter argument always being the American public has consistently rejected the dollar coin in past attempts.

I must admit I sit on the side of the fence in favor of making the switch.

What is the life-time cost difference between the paper dollar and the coin dollar?

Coin Value Production Life Expectancy Life-time Cost (per year)
Penny 2.00¢ 25 0.08¢
Nickel 10.09¢ 25 0.40¢
Dime 10¢ 4.99¢ 25 0.20¢
Quarter 25¢ 11.30¢ 25 0.45¢
Half-Dollar 50¢ No Data 25 Unknown
Dollar $1 21.11¢ 25 0.84¢
Bill Value Production Life Expectancy Life-time Cost (per year)
One $1 5.40¢ 5.9 0.92¢
Two $2 5.40¢ No Data Unknown
Five $5 9.80¢ 4.9 2.00¢
Ten $10 9.00¢ 4.2 2.14¢
Twenty $20 9.80¢ 7.7 1.27¢
Fifty $50 9.80¢ 3.7 2.65¢
Hundred $100 7.80¢ 15 0.52¢

On the surface, dollar coins are cheaper, 0.84¢, over their lifetime when compared against dollar bills, 0.92¢. However, the apparent different is very minor. This difference grows if the life expectancy of the coin is increased. Some non-government estimates place the life expectancy between 30 years (0.70¢) all the way up to 50 years (0.42¢). I lean more towards the fifty year number as I routinely see (and spend) coins from the 60’s and 70’s which are still in usable shape (denomination and mint year are both clear).

In order to facilitate the shift from paper to coins, the government would need to stop printing paper dollars. As the old bills wear out and are removed from circulation, the use of the coins would begin to grown and would become common place. Otherwise, the “sock drawer effect” would prevent the high level of circulation desired resulting in yet another failure to move to the dollar coin (Susan B Anthony, Sacajawea, Presidential Dollars.

To support the end goal of moving towards dollar coins, I do my part by actively spending dollar coins when buying cheap items (coffee, lunch at work, ice-cream).

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Coin Collecting

Posted on 2011-08-07 22:22 in Blog • Tagged with numismatics

I've always enjoyed collecting coins. Starting at a young age, my mother taught me to always check the dates on the coins I received as change. She was primarily focused on collecting nickels that were minted 1964 or earlier. Everything I bought a candy bar, I would check the change, and give my mom all the old nickels I found.

Around the time I entered junior high, the US Mint began releasing the 50 state quarters series. My grandmother bought all us grand-kids a cardboard holder for the coins and I got to work searching my spare change for states I didn't have. At the time, I was not interested in the condition of the coin, or where the coin was minted. Only in finding one of each time.

Now that I am “older” and have spare time/ money on my hands; I have revisited my old coin collections. This time, I am more motivated to create an interesting collection. I decided (in June) that I am going to collect one of each coin, for each year, from today going back to 1965. These coins should be readily available in circulation.

After several weeks of hunting mine, my friends, and my parent's coin jars. I completed the collection, mounted them in plastic 2x2s and admired my handy work. I had completed my mission, but the desire to continue burned bright inside me. I was officially hooked on coin collecting.

I almost immediately discovered the vast Ebay coin auction community and dived in head first bidding on coins. I'm primarily focusing on old Morgan dollar coins and Mercury dimes. The former retails for around $35 each, the former for around $2.25 per coin. Not the cheapest hobby, but one which definitely interests me.

Though my collecting, I have learned a lot about the history of the US Mints and coins. Reading about the inspiration behind different coin designs, the frequency at which the designs change, and about mints as they open and close throughout history. The best part about coin collecting, is the coins will always maintain some value.

I'm definitely looking forward to completing my Mercury dime, half dollar, and presidential coin collections. Although I believe it will be several years before I get a hold of all the coins.

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